DISTANCE LEARNING: SCHS staff discuss their experience with the COVID vaccination process


Alecia Leshan

SCUSD aided faculty and staff in scheduling their vaccination appointments once they were eligible on February 28, 2021.

As of Feb. 28, educators in Santa Clara County are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Numerous teachers at SCHS have been vaccinated with the help of the school district.

Social science teacher Carol Schmale had a relatively simple experience getting her vaccine and appreciates the district’s efforts to aid teachers in the vaccination process.

“I was able to get an appointment through the county’s vaccine website. Once they announced it was available to teachers after February 28th, I went online and found an appointment after that date, so I got my first shot on March 4th,” Schmale said. “The district provided some links just for teachers to get appointments, and they have been sending out emails as more options have been available for teachers.”

Math teacher Francine Kong had a similar experience, getting her vaccine without any major difficulties.

“To get the vaccine, we had to schedule first, so I scheduled for March 1st and from there I went to Levi’s Stadium and got my first vaccine shot,” Kong said. “The whole process was very quick, and it took about 20 minutes because there was no line that day.”

Principal Gregory Shelby also got his vaccine at Levi’s Stadium and appreciated the level of organization.

“I got mine at the 49ers stadium, and it was incredibly well organized,” Shelby said. “I never stopped moving. I walked in, filled out forms while walking, never had to wait in a line. The whole process took an hour, and I barely felt the shot in my upper shoulder.”

Vaccinations are not mandatory for teachers, but the district is aiding its teachers with resources to obtain it. Shelby anticipates that numerous teachers at SCHS will get vaccinated.

“There is a very good chance that the majority of our staff will be vaccinated at or shortly after the time that students start hybrid learning,” Shelby said. “It is something teachers do on their own, but we are trying to do all we can to communicate with them about what the options are.”

Although the SCUSD hybrid learning model does not require all teachers to be vaccinated due to the number of safety protocols set in place, Schmale feels more at ease returning back to school with the vaccine.

“I definitely feel safer,” Schmale said. “Of course, there is the chance that we can still pass it (COVID-19) on to people, but it is definitely less. I feel more relieved and more willing to come back to work (on campus).”

Shelby agrees and wants to emphasize the importance of taking precautions, such as wearing masks and keeping distance, even while vaccinated. 

“With the vaccine, it becomes an even safer environment. It is important to still take all those precautions because students won’t all be vaccinated, and there are folks who are medically vulnerable who can’t get the vaccine,” Shelby said. “We have a great system in place. The vaccines make it all the safer, but we must keep all protocols in place.”